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Congratulations! You are pregnant and now you must start “eating for two.” That means an extra 300 calories a day. Of course it varies from mom to mom, but an expectant mother can gain about 30 pounds during pregnancy. However, don’t worry about monitoring your bathroom scale. Instead focus on eating a variety of healthy foods that will ensure you and your baby are getting the nutrition you both need. For good nutrition during pregnancy, The Mayo Clinic recommends selecting from these food sources, daily: grains, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, poultry, beans, and dairy.
Six to 8 ounces of whole grains each day will ensure your baby is receiving enough folic acid. According to the March of Dimes, folic acid is an important nutrient that can help prevent spinal cord birth defects. Four to 5 cups of fruits and veggies daily will guarantee you are getting various vitamins and minerals plus iron and folate. While raw fruits and vegetables are best, dried fruits and juice are nice choices, too. However, the Mayo Clinic reminds us that too much fruit juice can also mean extra calories.
About 6 ounces are recommended daily from the protein group. Meat, poultry, eggs are excellent sources, but don’t forget about peanut butter or a serving of soybeans. Fish is important, too, because of the omega-3 fatty acids that promote baby’s brain development. Avoid fish that have the potential to be high in mercury like king mackerel or swordfish. Dairy products also provide protein, vitamin D and calcium. Three cups a day will also provide important bone-building nutrients for your baby. It is likely your physician will also recommend a prenatal vitamin.
While you are eating for two, don’t forget to keep your water glass full. Water is important throughout pregnancy and during your recovery from childbirth. If you decide to breastfeed, a steady intake of water will be important then, too. Drinking about ten 8-oz. glasses of fluids a day can relieve constipation and keep your urinary tract clear of infection. Caffeine, a stimulant, is found in many of our beverages and crosses the placenta.